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CGU presents $100,000 Tufts Poetry Award

The envelope, please. Claremont Graduate University has named Angie Estes as the winner of the 2015 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award.

The prestigious prize, which is given each year to a mid-career poet who has achieved much and is expected to achieve much more, carries with it a $100,000 purse, making it one of the biggest poetry awards in the world.

The poet, who is being recognized for her 2013 book Enchantée, lives in Urbana, Illinois and is on the faculty of Ashland University’s MFA program. Of Enchantée, Stephen Burt with the Boston Review has written, “Angie Estes has recently created some of the most beautiful verbal objects on the planet.”

This is not the first time verbal objects penned by Ms. Estes have gained critical notice.

A previous book of poems, Tryst, was selected as one of two finalists for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize. She has published five books of poetry and appeared in numerous anthologies as well as literary magazines like TriQuarterly, The Paris ReviewPloughshares, Boston Review and Slate. Honors she has garnered include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize and the Cecil Hemley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. For a sample of Ms. Estes’ work, visit AngieEstes.com and click on “Poems.”

Ms. Estes will be presented with the Kingsley Tufts Award at a ceremony held on Thursday, April 16 at 5 p.m. at the Rose Hills Theater in the Smith Campus Center at Pomona College (170 E. 6th St. in Claremont). The ceremony, which includes poetry readings, a book-signing and a light reception, is free and open to the public.

A Tufts Poetry Panel on “The Many Voices of Poetry,” featuring Ms. Estes among other panelists, will be held in the Honnold Library Founders Room from 2 to 4 p.m. prior to the ceremony.

Also recognized at the ceremony will be Brandon Som, a Los Angeles writer who has been presented with the 2015 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. The accolade and accompanying $10,000 prize is given annually for a first book by a poet of genuine promise. 

Mr. Som’s debut collection, The Tribute Horse, was called “a beautiful mediation on migration, cultural memory and the great mitigating force of both, language” in a NewPages review. Work by Mr. Som, who teaches in the writing program at the University of Southern California, has appeared in Indiana Review, Black Warrior Review, Octopus Magazine and Prairie Schooner.

The Kingsley Tufts award, now in its 23rd year, was established at Claremont Graduate University by Kate Tufts to honor the memory of her husband, who held executive positions in the Los Angeles Shipyards and wrote poetry as his avocation. ??The Kate Tufts Discovery Award was initiated in 1993. Both prizes are intended to provide writers with encouragement and financial breathing room to continue with their poetry.

“The unprecedented number of submissions this year represents a wide range of poetic voices and visions,” said Wendy Martin, director of the Tufts Poetry Awards and professor of American Literature at CGU, in a recent press release. “The competition was fierce, and the selection of the winning books was especially challenging. This gives us great confidence that contemporary American poetry is vital and thriving.”

—Sarah Torribio

storribio@claremont-courier.com

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